"Roshni Rides addresses one of the greatest needs," said Hult Prize founder Ahmad Ashkar

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Date: 
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Location: 
Washington, D.C.

NPR

On a stage at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, the young executives of six start-up companies made their final, feverish bids to win the coveted Hult Prize. Each had formed and launched business ideas over the last year that would try to solve this year's Hult Prize challenge – improving the well-being of at least one million refugees over the next five years.

One team pitched an enterprise to bring fast and reliable web services to refugees, and two companies sought to connect displaced people to jobs through apps and digital workplaces.

The winner this year is a startup called Roshni Rides, Bill Clinton announced at the end of the competition last Saturday. The former president, who began working with the Hult Prize in 2010, continued to speak but a roar of cheers drowned out his words. As he inched toward the stage, Roshni Rides CFO Moneeb Mian said in a breathless falsetto, "Oh, my God, we won."

Roshni Rides provides a private shuttle service dedicated to ferrying refugees from their homes to schools, work, hospitals and markets. "[The company] has an immediate impact and addresses one of the greatest needs, which is mobility. If you can"t be mobile, you are a prisoner," says Ahmad Ashkar, the founder of the Hult Prize.

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TAGS: Entrepreneurship HULT Social Entrepreneurship Supply Chain Management